Ushered On: How I Said Hello to Laos, My 50th Country

The sing-song voices of female attendants yelling out the destinations of their respective buses echoes around the bus terminal of Chiang Rai. Their whimsical voices adds to the rhythm of stomping feet, honking tuk tuks, and humming engines, placing me in a trance as I await the departure of my bus.

This is my fifth time coming back and forth to this station to take the odd bus to that odd destination. The women’s faces are familiar to me now. Their determination in filling their buses and the looked of content on their faces at having flagged down customers, has become more evident.

As I look around, I realise that there are a lot of women here. I begin to wonder if other bus stations in Thailand are as dominated by female attendants as this. “Did I neglect to notice this throughout my travels?”, I wondered to myself.

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